Councilor-elect stays extra night behind jail bars

RICK BRAINARD: Arrested on suspicion of domestic violenc

A technological problem with a jail video system kept Grand Junction City Councilor-elect Rick Brainard from appearing before a magistrate Sunday morning — meaning he’d spend an additional night in the Mesa County Jail.

Brainard — who won election last Tuesday with nearly 58 percent of the vote for the council’s at-large seat — was booked into jail Saturday morning on suspicion of misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault and harassment.

People arrested over the weekend regularly appear before a magistrate via video on Sunday mornings.

But Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said that technical issues caused all of the approximately 17 cases — including Brainard’s — to be held over until 1:30 today.

“For whatever reason, (the equipment) was not working this morning,” Hautzinger said Sunday.

Despite an offer by jail staff to try and cobble together an alternate communication system, Hautzinger said he pressed to move the advisements to today so that all of the defendants could have “an adequate record” of their proceedings.

“(Brainard) probably would have gotten a (personal recognizance) bond and would have been out at 10 or 11 this morning,” Hautzinger said Sunday, assuming Brainard did not have a prior criminal history.

Brainard is now scheduled to appear before Judge Gretchen Larson at 1:30 today.

As to the technical set-up used for Sunday advisements — where defendants appear via video from the jail, and the prosecutor uses a microphone to communicate with them and the magistrate — Hautzinger said he could not recall another time in which the system failed.   “Although we’ve had increasing problems with the cameras and microphones in the actual courtrooms,” he said.

System equipment is about 12 years old, Hautzinger said, “and slowly dying. It probably needs to be replaced.”

An arrest affidavit in Brainard’s case details how officers were called Saturday to his home on an assault report lodged by his live-in girlfriend of eight months.

She reported a physical altercation where Brainard allegedly pushed her several times, pulled her hair, and pinned her against a dresser.

When the woman later referred to Brainard with a vulgarity, he allegedly struck her on the right side of the face, according to police.

In addition to being a Grand Junction City Councilor-elect, Brainard is also vice president of business development at West Star Aviation.


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I find it fascinating that the voters of Grand Junction, for the most part, did not think it important to vote in the city council elections. Maybe they’ve become accustomed to having the Chamber of Commerce decide who runs the city.

I also find it fascinating that this guy got almost 60% of the vote, given that he couldn’t find it within himself to attend any candidates forums. Just how does a city elect a man that they’ve never met?

Finally, I hope that his girlfriend used the extra day to move all of her stuff out of his house. People with anger management problems don’t usually come home from jail in a magnanimous mood.

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